Gift Cards Top Canadian Holiday Shopping List: New Canadian Survey Reveals That Generation X and Y Consumers Lead Gift Card Trend

    Poll Shows Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec Residents Purchase
    of Gift Cards

    PLEASANTON, Calif., Dec. 20 /CNW/ -- A new survey released today by
Blackhawk Network, a market leader in card-based financial solutions and the
largest provider of third-party gift cards in the United States and Canada,
reveals that three out of four Canadian adults have both received and given
gift cards over the past year, and most of them do so for Christmas and
holiday gifts (73%). The "Canadian Gift Card Store Survey" also found that
women lead men in purchases of gift cards by 16 points (58 percent of women
versus 42 percent of men) and that Canadians primarily purchase gift cards for
family members (70 percent purchasing for adult-family members and 41 percent
purchasing for child-family members). Gift cards are often used as stocking
stuffers for family members and are easy to mail to family members who may
live across the country.
    The appeal of gift cards for almost 90 percent of buyers is the fact that
the recipient has the ability to choose exactly what he or she wants. More
than ever, holiday shoppers are looking for convenience for themselves and for
the people on their gift list. Gift cards are the most appealing to Gen X and
Y consumers. The survey also showed that adult consumers aged 18 to 39 years
comprise the majority because (52 percent) of adult Canadian purchasers of
gift cards signaling the importance of convenience and choices with this key
consumer demographic.
    "This survey highlights that the popularity of gift cards with Canadian
consumers as they prefer not to guess about gift giving this holiday season
but would rather give a gift card which is guaranteed to please," said Don
Kingsborough, president and chief executive officer of Blackhawk Network. "In
order for Canadians to find the perfect gift card for everyone on their list,
we are proud to conveniently provide the widest variety of best brand gift
cards -- including iTunes, Earls, The Bay, Zellers, Home Outfitters, Designer
Depot, The Home Depot and other leading retailers -- at our Gift Card Stores
in grocery, mass, convenience and specialty stores nationwide including
Safeway, A&P, Dominion, Metro, and Super C."
    Aside from highlighting the nationwide popularity of gift cards, the
summary demonstrated some regional differences as well. Residents of Ontario
lead the pack at 41 percent when it came to receiving gift cards, followed by
17 percent of Quebecoise and 17 percent of those living in British Columbia.
    Survey Notes
    The Winter 2007 "Canadian Gift Card Store Survey" was designed to screen
for national consumer awareness of gift cards and was comprised of 717
respondents representing a national sample matching Canadian census for income
and ethnicity within all Canadian provinces.
    About Blackhawk Network
    Blackhawk Network, a subsidiary of Safeway Inc., is a prepaid and
payments network, a market leader in card-based financial solutions and the
largest provider of third-party prepaid cards. Blackhawk Network develops
unique products in easy-to-use formats and delivers them to consumers through
an exclusive retail network of leading grocery, mass, convenience, drug and
specialty retailers. The network includes more than 80,000 store fronts and
reaches more than 165 million consumers each week. Headquartered in
Pleasanton, California, Blackhawk Network has offices in the United States,
Australia Canada, France, Germany, Mexico and the United Kingdom. For more
information about Blackhawk Network visit

For further information:

For further information: Brian Dowling of Safeway Inc, +1-925-467-3787,; or Kendall Coleman of MWW Group, +1-415-395-5914,, for Blackhawk Network; or Teri Llach of Blackhawk Network, 
+1-925-226-9028, Web Site:

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